Sen. Tim Kaine is standing by his claim during a speech on police reforms that America “created” slavery.
The Virginia Democrat became a top trending news item on Tuesday for delivering remarks to his colleagues, although his team was quick to come to his defense.
At issue was the politician’s following message:
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. They were slaves. They had been captured against their will. But they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery. There were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”
The Hill, The Washington Examiner, and other outlets covered the viral social media story.
Reporters who questioned the senator’s narrative noted that slavery has existed for thousands of years across a multitude of cultures.
“There was no law mandating slavery on our shores when African slaves came ashore in 1619,” Mr. Kaine told The Examiner. “Did slavery already exist in the world? Of course. But not in the laws of colonial America at the time. We could have been a nation completely without the institution. But colonial legislatures and courts, and eventually the U.S. legal system, created the institution on our shores and maintained slavery until the 13th Amendment. As I said, we didn’t inherit it. We chose to create it.”
The Democrat’s comments come against a cultural backdrop in which Black Lives Matter groups have protested in cities across the U.S.
George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man killed during an arrest by Minneapolis police officers in late May, has served as a rallying point for protesters demanding reforms to the policing system.